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Dundee's universities secure lion's share of innovation funding

14 March 2014

Abertay University and the University of Dundee and are among only nine universities in the UK to secure funding for technology and digital innovation projects in the 2014 Fast Forward competition run by the Intellectual Property Office of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

More than £660,000 was awarded to nine projects by the Intellectual Property Office to help businesses take their innovative ideas off the drawing board, and into the marketplace. Thanks to the city’s two universities, more than £150,000 – almost a quarter – of this investment is coming to Dundee.

Abertay University has been awarded £85,000 for its 'Investing in Digital Assets’ project, while the University of Dundee has been given £73,000 for its 'Technology Accelerator Programme’.

The Fast Forward competition encourages universities and Public Sector Research Establishments to work collaboratively with businesses and local communities to maximise the benefits of innovation and Intellectual Property. The competition has been running for the past four years and has now given more than £2.7 million in funding to 44 projects.

A total of 60 applications were received for the 2014 Fast Forward competition, of which nine were successful.

“Both awards reflect a recognition of best practice in enterprise support that exists in the city’s universities. For Abertay University, this represents a significant opportunity to support digital businesses across the UK in securing the investment they need to grow,” said Paul Durrant, Director of Business Development at Abertay University.

“The competition to secure these awards is intense so it really is a fantastic achievement for both Dundee universities to be successful in gaining this support for their novel and innovative models,” said John Mackenzie, Head of Knowledge Exchange in Research and Innovation Services at the University of Dundee. “If TAP proves successful, then we can roll it out across other platform technologies and hopefully share the best practice with other Universities”.

Minister for Intellectual Property, Lord Younger, said, "The UK is a nation of inventors, and each year we see cases of successful businesses that have turned their innovative ideas into products and services for the UK and international markets.

“Our world-class universities are a key driver of this innovation and we should always look to find new ways of working with them to better support businesses and drive economic growth.

"This is why I am so pleased to see so many innovative applications to the Fast Forward competition. The competition this year was tough. I would like to congratulate this year's winners on their success and I will follow their progress with interest."

The successful projects from Abertay and Dundee are:

Abertay University £85,668
“Investing in Digital Assets”

Persuading investors and lenders to recognise the asset value of digital Intellectual Property can be challenging when small, creative games development companies attempt to secure working capital to grow.

This project will work with a portfolio of grant supported games developers to identify a framework of distinguishable assets of intellectual property. Each case examined will be scrutinised by technical consultants, legal specialists, investors and lenders to develop best practice for asset recognition in this area. A wide range of issues will be evaluated including code and digital asset housekeeping, third party rights and other encumbrances, the impact of intangibles such as the extent to which individual creative input is separable from legal ownership and also ways discrete assets might be repurposed.

The overall impact will be to encourage potential investors to have greater confidence in digital assets created by the games industry, helping to stimulate higher flows of working capital and growth in the sector.

This is a unique opportunity to positively impact on the Higher Education Institute community and the management of intellectual property and knowledge exchange in this sector by working with the Prototype Fund portfolio.

University of Dundee
“TAP: Technology Accelerator Programme”

The project aims to launch “TAP” (Technology Accelerator Programme). “TAP” is a novel approach designed to bring together multidisciplinary teams of students, academic staff, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and industry to realise the commercial potential of available platform technology.

Sector specific technologies, starting with nanotechnology, will be provided by easy access arrangement from the University of Dundee’s technology transfer office, Research and Innovation Services (RIS).

TAP will involve RIS working with Design in Action together with up to 20 participants working in 4 separate teams over two residential, two-day day technology 'boot camps’. The teams will pitch for funding of up to £20,000 to work with the University to commercialise and/or leverage funding.

It’s hoped that this competition will turn the 'tap' on new ways of developing complex technologies and take new products or processes closer to market.

Notes to editors

1. The 2014 Fast Forward Competition awards prizes for projects that improve the management of Intellectual Property (IP) and Knowledge Exchange thereby creating new companies or services which benefit both the UK economy and society. It aims to encourage Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and Public Sector Research Establishments (PSREs) to work with businesses and local communities to develop innovative practices that set, test, develop or embed best practice.

2. The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is within the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills (BIS) and is responsible for the national framework of Intellectual Property rights, comprising patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.

3. Its role is to help manage an IP system that encourages innovation and creativity, balances the needs of consumers and users, promotes strong and competitive markets and is the foundation of the knowledge-based economy. It operates in a national and an international environment and its work is governed by national and international law, including various international treaties relating to Intellectual Property (IP) to which the United Kingdom is a party.

4. Further information relating to the competition can be found at the Fast Forward website.

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